ON-Lion Letter

In late August, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Ashley Luthern profiled "J" -- "among the estimated hundreds of women and children trafficked in Milwaukee, which has earned a national reputation as a hub of commercial sex exploitation ...."

"A few months ago," according to Luthern, J "saw a story on Facebook about the Convergence Resource Center, a faith-based community service organization in Milwaukee that helps survivors of trafficking."  Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation supports the center.

"J went to the center, where she was connected to support groups, one-on-one mentoring and job readiness training," Luthern continues.  "The center uses 'Ending the Game,' a curriculum written by Rachel Thomas and other survivors."

Tomas told Luthern that "[t]he victims that we're talking about are those who, on some level, may even believe they have chosen it or for the most part have bought into the lifestyle."

"It's hard to help someone who doesn't want to be helped," Thomas added. "So I think ground zero with intervention is having the right heart and mind about it, not using the word prostitute, not passing judgment, not saying you're stupid, but saying you're being manipulated."
Convergence Resource Center executive director Debbie Lassiter told Luthern that J makes an impact when she tells her story.

"She has a bubbly personality, and she always seeks to help others," Lassiter said. "She's already spoken to parents about things they should look out for and has done one-on-ones with other survivors. She's moving forward."

"J says she's been able to make progress by understanding how she was coerced and controlled," Luthern concludes.

"You have to have nurturing and care to fully get through it," J told Luthern.  "If you just run, like I did then, the demon's still going to follow you."

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